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The longest object I've ever had printed [message #82755] Wed, 08 January 2014 07:13 UTC Go to next message
avatar Magic  is currently offline Magic
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Hi,

I wanted to print the longest object possible with Shapeways. I though the main limitations were:
- the bounding volume (15x15x15cm for White Strong and Flexible Polished)
- the number of triangles (1,000,000 now, but I remember a time when you could bypass this limit)

I needed something that could be unfold to get bigger than this initial volume, so I choose to design a simple chain.
I first designed a simple link made of two circular loops, intersecting in a perpendicular direction by their sides (two tori to be precise).
I reduced the number of polygons as much as I could without scarifying the shape, and the result was an object with 1176 triangles.
Then I put as much of these links as I could to make a closed loop.

My first attempt was a loop of 824 of those links (969,024 triangles). As you can see, in theory, I could put 26 more links but it was not esy because the chain had to form a closed loop, so the end of the chain had to join the beginning of it, whereas staying into the maximum bounding volume. In other words, I had to fold the chain several times to fit it into this volume and thus the total length had to be a multiple of a certain basic length.
Unfortunately when I uploaded the model, I got an error, saying basically that the Meshmedic program (that check if all is OK with your model) failed to merge the shells. This was quite frustrating because there is no shell to merge: each shell (separate part) is interlocked with two other, but non is intersecting another.

But this means that the number of shell (probably also depending on the number of polygons) is an undocumented limit.

So I reduced the number of shells to 758 then to 692 and finally the 626-link version was uploaded successfully.
index.php?t=getfile&id=48940&private=0

So the version available is made of 626 links and has 736,176 triangles, which is not bad at all. Each link add a length of 6 mm so the total length is in theory 3.76 meters. As there is a clearance of 0.5mm the actual length is more that 4 meters (that you have to fold into two since it is a closed loop).

Here is a video of the result (with a bit of me for the scale) :
http://youtu.be/yfSM1TBtBrc

And you, did you manage to print something bigger? In this case how many shells and how many triangles?

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[Updated on: Sun, 18 May 2014 09:00 UTC]


So many things to design, so little time...
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #82761 is a reply to message #82755 ] Wed, 08 January 2014 10:07 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar wedge  is currently offline wedge
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cool :)
its always interesting how designers push the possibility of the 3D-Printing technology.
Quote:

But this means that the number of shell (probably also depending on the number of polygons) is an undocumented limit.

would be interesting where the problem comes from or where is the limit.
I am not sure, but IMO was in there a blog about folding a chain armor or other clothes so it can be printed? IMO a chain armor has much more shells.

[Updated on: Wed, 08 January 2014 10:08 UTC]

Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #82793 is a reply to message #82755 ] Wed, 08 January 2014 15:58 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar henryseg  is currently offline henryseg
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Quaternary tree mobile (level 6) - 1365 shells, 341200 triangles. If there are fewer polygons then it gets through the spurious shell merging more quickly - before it times out and fails the model. Yes, it is very annoying to have to downgrade the resolution of a perfectly good model to get it through the upload process.
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #82799 is a reply to message #82755 ] Wed, 08 January 2014 17:37 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stop4stuff  is currently offline stop4stuff
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Tres cool Vincent :)

The limit is not the number of shells, but how the number of shells vs the number of triangles affects the ability of MeshMedic to verify the model before it hits a pre-determined time-out limit (20 minutes iirc) - 2034 (or more) shells is possible, however the model has only 73728 triangles, a bit of a bummer really when 3D printed chainmaille clothing is doable.

Paul
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #82812 is a reply to message #82755 ] Wed, 08 January 2014 19:22 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar FreeRangeBrain  is currently offline FreeRangeBrain
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One wonders how much longer a chain could be made by using flat faced links instead of toroidal ones. MeshMedic might have less trouble with the quantity of shells, too?


Creativity - sometimes by the brute force method.
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #82816 is a reply to message #82812 ] Wed, 08 January 2014 20:25 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stop4stuff  is currently offline stop4stuff
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FreeRangeBrain wrote on Wed, 08 January 2014 19:22

One wonders how much longer a chain could be made by using flat faced links instead of toroidal ones. MeshMedic might have less trouble with the quantity of shells, too?


Using the largest print size for WSF, links of two sizes could be made, one in the region of 640mm long the other maybe 8mm long, each size link could be constructed in a similar manner with 24 triangles per link using a triangular cross-section for the 'wire' making the links. How many fits into the printer size of 650x350x550mm, I'll leave up to Magic ;)

Paul
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #82817 is a reply to message #82816 ] Wed, 08 January 2014 20:57 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Magic  is currently offline Magic
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If the 640mm links can be aligned on the horizontal plan of 550mm by letting 8mm from link to link you can put 68 of them horizontally and then make 43 identical layers. This is 68x43 = 2924 links of 640mm plus the same number of 8mm. the length would be 648x2924 = 1'894'752mm, that is a little less than 2km (for only 2924x2x24 = 140'352 triangles). if the density is, say, 20% the volume would be 65x35x55x0.2 = 25'025 cc and the price a little more than $35'000.
Am I right?
Oops, I forgot the discount for large volume WSF...
:-)


So many things to design, so little time...
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #82819 is a reply to message #82817 ] Wed, 08 January 2014 21:05 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stop4stuff  is currently offline stop4stuff
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Mathematics isn't my strongest area, so I'll just agree ;)

It would be an interesting experiment - are there any Guiness records for 3D printed items yet?
(My idea on the world record bit if Shapeways decide to take it up as a publicity stunt)

Paul
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #82820 is a reply to message #82819 ] Wed, 08 January 2014 21:13 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar henryseg  is currently offline henryseg
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Here's some competition on chain length: Hyperform - Longest Chain.
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #82821 is a reply to message #82820 ] Wed, 08 January 2014 21:26 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Magic  is currently offline Magic
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There are two problems with our theory:
- at 64cm long the a link made of a wire of 2 or 3 mm diameter will not be very sturdy.
- the weight of the whole chain would be 25kg. The first link must support all this weight...


So many things to design, so little time...
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #82822 is a reply to message #82821 ] Wed, 08 January 2014 21:48 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stop4stuff  is currently offline stop4stuff
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I'm thinking the same, not only long, but strong too - I have some chain of 0.7mm WSF 'wire' rings, time for a test.

Paul
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #82847 is a reply to message #82822 ] Thu, 09 January 2014 06:34 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Magic  is currently offline Magic
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For a same quantity of matter (that is for a same weight) a hollow cylinder is sturdier than a solid one. Should we try hollow links?


So many things to design, so little time...
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #82848 is a reply to message #82847 ] Thu, 09 January 2014 07:15 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Magic  is currently offline Magic
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Here is a hollow link that could be a first try:
index.php?t=getfile&id=49047&private=0
It is 192 triangles (it seems that the 1 million triangle limit is not the most important one)
Its external size is 18x12x3 mm with an internal hole of 12x6mm
The wire is 3x3 mm with a hole of 1x1 mm
Each time you add a link you add 12 mm

If we were not limited by the bounded volume (or the number of shells) but only by the number of polygons, we could make a chain of 1000000/192*12/1000 = 62.5 meters. That's much less than our initial calculation because I did not consider the two sizes of links.
How long could this link be made without compromising its sturdiness?

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[Updated on: Thu, 09 January 2014 07:17 UTC]


So many things to design, so little time...
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #82859 is a reply to message #82848 ] Thu, 09 January 2014 10:46 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Wahtah  is currently offline Wahtah
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@Magic: nice chain!

@stop4stuff: with regards to 0.7mm WSF links: I don't think it's worth trying that, I had this moebius strip printed in WSF with 1mm links and many of them were broken by the time I got them:

index.php?t=getfile&id=49052&private=0

index.php?t=getfile&id=49053&private=0

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[Updated on: Thu, 09 January 2014 10:51 UTC]

Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #82861 is a reply to message #82859 ] Thu, 09 January 2014 12:04 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stonysmith  is currently offline stonysmith
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You can reduce it to 112 triangles if you close the holes on the sides:
index.php?t=getfile&id=49054&private=0

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Patience, Persistance, Politeness - the 3Ps will help us get us to Perfect Printed Products
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #82889 is a reply to message #82861 ] Thu, 09 January 2014 18:49 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Magic  is currently offline Magic
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The side holes were for an easier cleaning of the internal powder. I am wondering if we could have a "U" section, instead of a hollow square section. It would be lighter and even easier to clean.


So many things to design, so little time...
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #87802 is a reply to message #82889 ] Sun, 13 April 2014 14:12 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Magic  is currently offline Magic
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A little bird told me that this problem of shell limits will soon be fixed.
So, it is time to think bigger (well longer).
So I have designed a new link with less triangles (272 instead of 1176).
index.php?t=getfile&id=57010&private=0
If the only limit is the number of triangles (1 million) then I can print 3676 links each on adding 6 to 6.5mm of length, which would give a chain whose total length will be 22 or 23 meters. If I am not wrong the weight would be 128g and the price something like $195...




So many things to design, so little time...
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #89498 is a reply to message #87802 ] Sun, 11 May 2014 17:34 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Magic  is currently offline Magic
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Just an update: with the latest weekly release, the number of shells accepted at the upload is now higher (thanks Alan!).
This means that I was able to upload my original model (824 links made 1176 triangles each). So, for this model, the limit is now the number of triangles only (less than 1 million). Of course I ordered the Double Loop Chain - 824 today for myself. It should be more than 5 meters long!
And I still have to try something 4 times bigger using the low polygons link.


So many things to design, so little time...
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #91473 is a reply to message #89498 ] Fri, 06 June 2014 21:05 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Magic  is currently offline Magic
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The Double Loop Chain - 824 arrived. It is a loop measuring twice 2.67m that is 5.34 meters.
Here are two pictures:
index.php?t=getfile&id=61295&private=0
index.php?t=getfile&id=61296&private=0


So I finally broke my own record.

Who's next?

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So many things to design, so little time...
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #91493 is a reply to message #82755 ] Sat, 07 June 2014 03:47 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar MrNib  is currently offline MrNib
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Instead of a design file describing each individual chain link (with all vertices and faces) is there another file format that can define the link geometry once as an instance that is repeated x times with simple position and angular offsets for every other link? This type of step and repeat is a feature of many engineering software tools to reduce file sizes.
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #91496 is a reply to message #91493 ] Sat, 07 June 2014 05:44 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Magic  is currently offline Magic
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I am not sure, but I think VRML should do the job. This file format describes a scene (for instance it can contain cameras), so I see no reason why you could not describe a link as an object and then instantiate this object several times with different position matrices (a matrix is more complex than just giving a angle and position offset, but still more efficient than describing the link again).


So many things to design, so little time...
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #91502 is a reply to message #91496 ] Sat, 07 June 2014 08:07 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar wedge  is currently offline wedge
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yep.

sth like this
Quote:


Transform {
children [
DEF Link Shape { # triangle mesh }
]}

Transform { translation 1 1 1
children [ USE Link ]}

Transform { translation 1 1 3
children [ USE Link ]}


Transform { translation 1 1 5
children [ USE Link ]}





but last time I Uploaded a file with this, I got a strange error mail. And it takes a day to get the mail the "your model is ready to print."


[Updated on: Sat, 07 June 2014 08:07 UTC]

Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #91516 is a reply to message #82755 ] Sat, 07 June 2014 16:34 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar MrNib  is currently offline MrNib
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OK, let's assume you can pack more chain links into your file using such a technique. At some point the memory limitations are transferred to the printer, if not a physical limitation on how much chain you can pack into a single print run, or the ability to pay for it!
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #91519 is a reply to message #91516 ] Sat, 07 June 2014 17:07 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Magic  is currently offline Magic
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I am unsure the limitation is the size of the file, it is rather the number of polygons (and the price, of course, you are correct).
With longer links (at is as been suggest before) the limitation could also be the maximum bounding volume of the printer.
And finally, the link must be strong enough to support the weight of the whole chain.

This leaves a lot of degrees of freedom, I guess.


So many things to design, so little time...
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #91526 is a reply to message #91519 ] Sat, 07 June 2014 22:06 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar MrNib  is currently offline MrNib
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Magic wrote on Sat, 07 June 2014 17:07

I am unsure the limitation is the size of the file, it is rather the number of polygons (and the price, of course, you are correct).
With longer links (at is as been suggest before) the limitation could also be the maximum bounding volume of the printer.
And finally, the link must be strong enough to support the weight of the whole chain.

This leaves a lot of degrees of freedom, I guess.



I was thinking that a "compact" instance file format could get expanded to a much larger polygonal based file after it gets to Shapeways, although there might be other bottlenecks like MeshMedic in their process flow. At some point all of the files to built in a tray must be combined into one huge master build file. I would think the memory or polygon limitations for an individual model are somewhat arbitrary for practicality. But the Shapeways people should be able to create very long interlinked chain files in house if they so desired, up to a maximum number of polygons that a particular printer could handle.

Is there a recognized world record for the length of a 3D printed chain, or length/build volume ratio? I found this for a 50 foot chain built in a 5x5x6 inch volume.
http://www.3ders.org/articles/20130917-mit-researchers-creat es-the-world-largest-print-with-form-1-3d-printer.html
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #91551 is a reply to message #91526 ] Sun, 08 June 2014 05:45 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Magic  is currently offline Magic
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Yes, you are probably right: the polygon limit per object is perhaps arbitrary but a polygon limit by print tray is very likely.
Thank you for the link: I had seen the video of the 50-foot chain, but the interesting thing is that their link they used - the one on the last pictures at least - is very similar to mine (a double loop) although there are some cuts I don't really understand (can this chain take another shape? or do they just explain that the shape it has when printing is different than its shape when unfolded?).
50-foot length seems easy to achieve, it is only three times what I have done yet. And the price would be something like $150.


So many things to design, so little time...
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #91763 is a reply to message #91551 ] Wed, 11 June 2014 17:14 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar AlanHudson  is currently offline AlanHudson
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Using VRML's DEF / USE function will not avoid the maximum triangle count limit. As suggested once it gets to the 3D printer it can't really use instancing. At some point in our backend pipeline its get's deinstanced.

We've been moving our software to allow 2 million triangles. Officially the max is 1 million but feel free to try a model bigger then that. There are still pieces that might fail above 1M but our tests have shown success with some 2M models.

Instancing will help you overcome the 64M zipped file limit on upload and it's generally a bit faster for us to process.


Director 3D Tools
Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #91778 is a reply to message #82755 ] Wed, 11 June 2014 20:23 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar MrNib  is currently offline MrNib
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Not that I'm suggesting this as a must have capability or anything, but for the people interested in making bigger/longer things like chains...

If there were an option to assemble 2 or more models together in the build tray after upload you would be able to increase the size of something like a chain by a factor of 2 or more, circumventing the upload limits. This would require some set of registration or alignment markers in the uploaded model such that they could be properly aligned to each other and assembled into a larger instance when the build tray is assembled by a SW tech or algorithm. Just a thought for people or Shapeways resident artists with extra clout who enjoy pushing the envelope. :)


Here's a simple 2D rendition of what I'm talking about. The orange blobs are supposed to indicate alignment markers of some type (that may be printed and discarded unless there is something like a no-print alignment material definition available). Alternately you could use numerical offset parameters to determine the positions of the assembled base units. I'm showing the same base unit being replicated here in one dimension, although with a bit more thought and more rules you could come up with a way to combine the same or different uploads in three dimensions.

index.php?t=getfile&id=61780&private=0

Re: The longest object I've ever had printed [message #91804 is a reply to message #91473 ] Thu, 12 June 2014 11:26 UTC Go to previous message
avatar Wahtah  is currently offline Wahtah
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Magic wrote on Fri, 06 June 2014 21:05

So I finally broke my own record.

Who's next?


Would you accept this as being longer if I ever get it printed in elasto plastic? It's about 15 meters of wire, 750000 faces, just one shell...

https://images3.sw-cdn.net/model/picture/625x465_563759_176860_1338413389.jpg

 
   
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